Chairman’s New Years message

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

I know I will not be on my own in being relieved 2020 is finally over and can only feel optimistic with 2021 quietly arriving. The Christmas and New Year Celebrations appear to have been so very different to previous years and with the ‘Virus’ now taking a tighter grip on our lives, it may be some time before we return to some sort of ‘Normality’. However, we live in hope and look forward to being able to watch a live game of Rugby and enjoy socialising over a drink or two.

First we must wait for our First Minister’s instructions for the Hospitality Industry and advise when we can ‘Open’ our doors for business and for our players and coaches to recommence training, when deemed safe to do so. In the meantime and with an eye on our future, Alyn Humphreys has held talks with George Taverner, WRU Development officer and our own Junior Coach, Jordan McDonnell.

This has been in an attempt to revive the Wanderers Junior Section in the local area. It would appear there are youngsters, both boys and girls living and schooling in our area, who are keen to ‘Find a Club’ to play for. These discussions took place just prior to our latest ‘Lockdown’, but the plans are continuing. Developing young players for the future of the Wanderers must be paramount.

Our Senior Players trained during the week prior to the current Lockdown under the guidance of Coach, Darren Gibbon. A lively fitness session, but as one would expect they are all frustrated with not being able to play. The ‘Old Guard’ of Peter H, Courtney J and Steve C were also in attendance on a Cold Winter’s Night and we must thank these stalwarts for their loyalty and commitment to the Wanderers, for so many years.

Team Manager, John Lyons together with Alyn H and Tony Murphy were also on hand to provide the players etc with a ‘Reward’ for their efforts with a Turkey rolls and a can of Cider. It was probably the fastest some of them moved all evening to receive their hand-outs, but they all appeared to enjoy.

Darren was deputising for Martyn Fowler who was recovering from an operation and I am informed is well on the road to recovery. We all wish Martyn well and look forward to seeing him back out on the paddock very soon preparing his young charges for an assault upon the Championship.

Whilst the Club remains closed for ‘Business’ our staff are currently entered onto the Government Furlough Scheme, which is being managed by Rhys Draby. Kelly has been keeping a watch out on our premises and has already had to deal with a failure to the Security Lighting System. Mike D, Callum and Leigh Morgan have provided Kelly with their assistance with this matter.

We also have an issue with the Roofing on the Sir Tasker Lounge, which is currently being investigated. Once again these problems highlight the issues of an ageing property and without any ‘Income’ is a financial drain on our Club.

A great deal of credit must go to Kelly and all her staff, who worked tirelessly whilst we were open, under difficult conditions. They ensured the Government Restrictions were complied with ensuring the safety of our members and of course themselves. To my knowledge, only one person, a visitor, was tested positive after undertaking a Covid Test, which I am pleased to say, did not have anything to do with his visit to the Club.

The Covid Advice Centre was more than satisfied with the Wanderers response to this information as was a subsequent Covid Inspector, who later made a routine visit to the Club. They too were complimentary of Kelly, her staff and the Wanderers for the implementation of the Government Covid Rules. Well done to everyone.

Whilst reflecting as we all do at this time of the year and witnessing the devastating effects Covid – 19 has had on so many, we should also respect our members, who did not make it through the year:-

Sadly last year we lost members, Phil Lane, Les Roberts, Donny Godfrey, Sue Richards, Gareth Rees, Ray Connelly, Tony Bainton, together with former player Ray Plummer and two of our ex-captains Peter Godfrey and Terry O’Gorman. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends at the Wanderers.

As I have previously mentioned a great deal of maintenance and renovation work has been undertaken within the changing rooms, medical room, outside cooler system and around our grounds by Committee and Club Members. Besides giving up their time to undertake this work, equipment and materials have been donated by these individuals and we must thank all concerned for their generosity and of course hard work. It is most appreciated and ensures our facilities for players and members are of the required standards to be enjoyed by all. Without these ‘Volunteers’ our Club would not survive and we are indebted to you all. Thank you.

We are also considering improving the facilities in the Foxhunter Lounge. This may involve dividing the room, so that by day, one part may be used by local Community Groups and businesses as a small conference centre / meeting place. Whilst the other part could be used as it is at present as a ‘Sports Bar’ where TV’s, Wi-fi, pool and darts facilities etc would be available to our members. We are awaiting estimates for this work to be conducted.

At the moment life is so very different; we have already witnessed an AGM via ‘Zoom’, which was followed by a Committee Meeting using a similar facility. Both Meetings were attended and conducted pretty well (Not sure if Dr Ruth would agree, as she took the Minutes), but I am sure I am not on my own in missing the personal contact and sincerely hope once the vaccination programme is rolled out we can all get back together. Therefore on that note may I extend my best regards and wish you all a Happy New Year – 2021, it is here!!!!!

Gerry Blake.

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